Y’town school board gets schooled by CEO Mohip

We aren’t surprised the Youngstown Board of Education intends to continue its fool’s errand to upend a state law designed to improve the urban school district’s academic performance.

There has been a glaring absence of thoughtful leadership on the board for quite some time.

Fortunately, members will no longer be able to spend tax dollars in their attempt to be relevant.

On Friday, the district’s chief executive officer, Krish Mohip, issued a resolution that not only puts President Brenda Kimble and her cohorts in their place, but asserts his authority.

Mohip, appointed CEO last year by the special Youngstown School District Academic Distress Commission, has full operational, managerial and instructional control of the system. His powers are delineated in House Bill 70, the so-called Youngstown Plan.

Mohip, who came to Youngstown from the Chicago public school system, has tried to be reasonable in his dealings with the school board.

However, it’s clear the partnership the CEO had hoped to forge with the board will not materialize.

Kimble, in particular, is determined to find a court that will declare HB 70 unconstitutional. The board is allied with the Ohio Education Association, Youngstown Education Association, city schools teacher Jane Haggerty, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and the AFL-CIO in this endeavor.

But the chances of success are slim to none, given two rulings by Judge Jenifer French of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

In the first, Judge French denied a motion by the school board and other plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction. She also noted that the plaintiffs had little chance of success with their claim that HB 70 is unconstitutional.

The 10th District Court of Appeals dismissed the school board’s appeal, and on Oct. 11, Judge French issued a final decision and judgment denying a motion for a permanent injunction.

Board’s failure

The bottom line: The Youngstown Board of Education has failed to put the brakes on a state law designed to save academically challenged school districts.

But that has not convinced Kimble to end the ridiculous campaign.

“We’re not giving up,” she said in the wake of Judge French’s ruling. “We have to fight for public education and our children in our district.”

Squandering taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit doomed to fail is not fighting for public education or for the children of Youngstown.

Mohip’s decision to cut off funding for another appeal of HB 70 is long overdue. He should have turned off the financial spigot the moment he began his assignment as the district’s chief executive officer.

Based on our long-held belief that the school board has been the problem rather than the solution, we have urged Mohip and the academic distress commission to implement all the provisions in the state law.

For instance, the CEO’s total control of the district’s finances is just one major aspect of his authority. There are others that when implemented will leave no doubt about the extent of his powers.

While it is impossible to completely ignore distractions, such as the school board’s lawsuit, the administration and the distress commission have a responsibility to give the children of Youngstown every opportunity to succeed academically.

When Kimble talks about public education, she conveniently forgets that the school board was responsible for HB 70 becoming law.

Gov. John R. Kasich, reacting to the district being in state-mandated academic emergency for several years, put his foot down and said the status quo was unsustainable.

The school system had been dysfunctional for so long that failure became the norm. The children suffered while adults bickered and played their silly games.

Today, however, Mohip and the distress commission are in charge and have forged a recovery plan that when implemented fully should result in improved scores in the state’s academic proficiency tests.

We reiterate what we have said on several occasions: CEO Mohip owns this academic year and will be held responsible for the outcome of next year’s state tests.

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